"The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it." -Oscar Wilde

To Catch a Raven

By Lynx Klaw

Chapter 1: Steps 1 through 5

Step 1: Make a Clever Trap

July 10

I think it's official. I've finally cracked. It didn't happen immediately or anything... after all, I've devoted pages to it all. Still, I can't pin down when or how the idea came to me. All I know is that it's been on my mind for a while as one of those crazy ideas you never think about seriously.

I guess that's the problem. I actually started considering it seriously. It kept bugging me in the background, coming up again and again whenever I had a moment of boredom or my thoughts strayed to her. Then my brain would just take off and start scenarios and little plots. Before I knew it, I had a plan.

Even so, it was a ludicrous plan. Dangerous, even... yet it persisted. For one reason or another, I've always been able to rationalize it away as a stupid idea: It would put Mikron or Baran in danger; the timing wasn't right; conditions made the plan unfeasible. Things like that...

However, I've found myself going solo for almost a year. We still keep in contact, but no major jobs required the three of us to team up... so they're in no danger. It's summer and I've been keeping my head down, lately. Shit, all of us have... so the timing couldn't be more ideal. Worse yet, I've found the perfect conditions and site for my plan.

I don't know what Mike or Baran will say. They'll probably tell me I'm crazy. All this just to get a few minutes to talk to her? Yeah, totally nuts. If I'm going to do this, though, I'll need their help for the set-up. Look at me; I'm actually going on about particulars, now.

I might as well stop here and call Mike. He just might be able to pull this off after he's done reading me the riot act...

Jinx closed her diary and picked up her communicator. She flicked it open and dialed Gizmo. As the sorceress waited for him to pick up, she once again asked herself what she was thinking. Unfortunately, the pink-haired villainess had no answer to go with her ponderings.

"Yeah, whaddaya want?"

Jinx looked back to the communicator, grinning, "Nice to see you, too, Mike."

"Kammie! I haven't heard shit from ya in fuckin' months. What the Hell've ya been up to?" the bald boy inquired with as much profanity as possible.

"Nothing, really. I did a little job a couple months ago to make ends meet, but... but I have a new idea. I might need your help... and Baran's."

A wide grin tore across his face, "Somethin' big?"

"Oh, yeah," she said somewhat reluctantly, "really big. Can we meet up? I want to discuss this in person..."

"Sure," said the genius, "Lemme get the big guy on the line..."

Three Weeks Later

Jinx set down her backpack full of a few meager possessions behind the large block atop the roof housing the stairwell to the lower floor. It was out of sight from the side of the building with the fire escape, which was perfect. With the contents, one might think she was having a sleepover. She had a few changes of clothes, toiletries, her favorite perfume--jasmine, her locked diary, her collapsible meditation table, incense, and a pink lighter with a cartoon bunny on it with the caption: 'I did it, but I'm blaming you.'

The sorceress smoothed her hands over her clothes, ridding it of imaginary wrinkles. The villainess had gone with a different, more flattering wardrobe, which consisted of a black, split-panel dress, a purple sash, and some purple stockings. Her platform boots were ever-present. She had abandoned her regular bands that held up her pink hair in horns. In their place, Jinx had wound purple ribbons around them. The ribbons hung at the curve of her hair-horns down just past her ears.

"You're sure you wanna do this?" asked Mammoth.

"Yeah, she's probably gonna clean yer clock an' haul ya off."

The young woman nodded at this. She had anticipated that outcome, but not having any sort of answer to settle her mind was driving her insane. At least this way, no matter the outcome, she had an answer and could put the issue to rest. Yes, the majority of sense said that this would hurt her--physically and emotionally. However, she would recover. If she didn't do it, the what-ifs would consume her.

"I know... but I have to try. I know you care, too... and I appreciate all your help. If things go bad, don't worry. I'll get over it. It might take me a while, but I will."

"...Are you fuckin' sure ya don't want us to hang with ya 'til the Titans show?"

"I'll be fine. Besides, I don't want you to have to fight 'em just for me."

Gizmo looked ready to argue, but his watch preempted him with a beep.

"Time to go," she said.

They made their way down the fire escape and onto the street. Then they went into the building upon which they'd previously been standing.

Sam stood behind the display case at Karasu's, a jewelry shop in downtown Jump. The woman watched as the other employees helped the two couples in the store. She sighed slightly in boredom. The young sales rep liked working here--liked helping people find the right thing--but between customers, things were slow and monotonous.

Sam was 28; she was average in every aspect with short, brown hair and green eyes. This was her first and only job so far. It was one she could come to every day and leave satisfied. Her bosses were nice, the employees not overly officious, and she was surrounded with beautiful baubles all day. If she brought a book, then her little world was perfect. Today, she'd forgotten her current novel.

At her sigh, their security guard, Hank O'Malley, glanced up from behind his Sudoku puzzle book and smiled at her. He was like a second father, and had been here practically since the place opened with the elderly Japanese couple. He knew she was a restless soul and would usually hold conversations with her when there were no customers.

The quiet, boring scene shattered abruptly when three kids walked in. The smallest one, who looked like a toddler, began spouting orders.

"Mammoth, get the guard. Jinx, check the alarms. I need five minutes!"

Mammoth lumbered over to the guard, who already surmised that he could do little against the young man that towered over him by almost a yard. The orange-haired giant put a hand on the man's shoulder to keep him seated, then took the rope over his shoulder and began tying the man to the chair.

By the doorway, Gizmo began fiddling the doorjamb. He was attaching some kind of sensors. When he was done, he handed Mammoth some small, quarter-sized orbs with sticky platforms and told him to stick them on the corners of the ceiling. They looked like tiny disco balls...

For her part, Jinx headed straight for Sam and jumped the counter, startling the sales rep.

"Hey, you got a Metahuman alarm?"

Most places did, these days, considering the wealth of them that seemed to crop up in the city. Most businesses had sprung for the systems that would immediately send a notification to JCPD and the Teen Titans: the elected vigilantes that typically dealt with the super-powered nuts that saturated the area.

Sam backed up against the jeweler's counter behind her, staring in fright at the pink, feline eyes. At the question, she jumped slightly. The sales rep nodded jerkily, but remained otherwise flat against the far counter.

Jinx waited patiently, but no answer was forthcoming, "Well, where is it?"

Sam pointed to the display case behind her.

Jinx bent over and looked under the counter. There was a yellow button next to a blue button. Further inspection showed the blue one had a 'P' engraved on it while the yellow one had an 'M' on it. She nodded satisfactorily and straightened.

"Got it!" she called out, noting that Mammoth had put up all but one of the projectors for Gizmo.

Once Mammoth finished sticking the last of the adhesive projector devices on the ceiling, both he and Gizmo moved for the door. Gizmo paused in the doorway and the two Metahumans looked at their final partner.

"Kammie... you're fuckin' positive you don't want us to stick-"

"Yes, yes. Go on," she said with a shooing motion.

Mammoth lingered a bit longer and gave her a parting "Good luck" before he stooped to exit Karasu's. The two gone, Jinx held company with her temporary captives. The pink-haired sorceress sighed, took the communicator off her sash, and pressed a button.

Sam watched this slickly operated job go down. Then she watched the two leave without actually taking anything. The frightened woman was slowly becoming suspicious as the pink-haired girl stood by the counter. Two minutes passed before the communicator the villainess held beeped. Jinx pressed the alarm button and hopped over the counter.

Seconds later, a light in the middle of the floor flashed and images of Mammoth and Gizmo flickered into view, slowly becoming solid apparitions. Jinx admired the images for several seconds, poking one and receiving a small rainbow-refraction off her finger. Then the HIVE Five member turned around to face the customers huddled at the far end of the shop.

"Okay! This is how it's gonna go! Stay still, quiet, an' sit tight. In no time, this'll be a fun story to tell your kids," she said with a wide grin. Jinx paused and looked at the older, upper-class couple and amended, "...or grandkids."

Step 2: Use an Elaborate Lure

Nine minutes passed. The pink-haired girl paced in front of the far display inside Karasu's. She paused and smoothed her hands over her dress for the umpteenth time. Jinx resumed pacing. After eight or ten passes, the sorceress paused again. She picked up the mirror set for customers and used it to check her hair. It was perfect, the same as the last three times she'd checked it. The woman behind the counter tracked her the entire time with her eyes, making her even more nervous.

Sam had watched her sisters--younger twins--fret in almost the same manner, once. That was during their senior year for their prom. The sales rep tried to assemble the puzzle pieces presented to her. The teen, who appeared to be somewhere around 18, was as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs. Nothing had been stolen, no threats made--quite the opposite, and the strange villainess had even punched the alarm herself!

There was ulterior motive here.

The sorceress stopped her pacing yet again. It was beginning to annoy Sam and she took a chance. Sure, her theory was out there on a limb, but this whole business stank of something more intricate.

"If you keep messing with your dress, you'll give it wrinkles instead of smoothing them out..."

Jinx gave a small, startled hop. She stared at the sales rep, her vertical pupils wide like Sam's cat, Puck, when he was playful. The pink-haired girl moved over to the counter and picked up the mirror. Sam plucked it away from her questing fingers.

"...and your hair is fine."

Jinx looked fit to explode, but calmed down just before she hit critical mass. The HIVE Five member took a deep breath and slowly let it out. She could stay calm for a bit longer... just a bit.

"Does it usually take them this long to get here?" she whined.

The hex-caster was aware that she shouldn't be making conversation, but all the waiting was driving her to the limit. Jinx wasn't often given to silence. That the jeweler's shop had become like a morgue began to eat at the girl's composure. What the Hell were the Titans doing?

"I coulda cleaned this place out and been halfway down 7th Avenue by now!"

Sam began gently, "Whatever--whoever--you want, I'm sure they'll be here soon."

"But what if they had to leave? What if they're busy? They could be in Brazil stopping Dr. Light from getting a tan or Killer Moth coulda trapped them all in giant cocoons or... or something!"

"Um," Sam said unsurely.

The H.I.V.E. graduate seemed to catch on to a fact and narrowed her eyes at Sam, "Hey, why're you all talkative? Aren't hostages s'pposed to be... y'know... scared 'n' quiet?"

"Am I a hostage?"

Before she could answer, a motorcycle squealed to a halt outside, followed seconds later by a blue and white car. Jinx's head jerked up. She grinned suddenly and whipped around, placing herself to the left of the two, illusory HIVE Five members. Flexing and wiggling her fingers in anticipation, her right hand blossomed with a slight coral luminosity.

The Titans rushed in and made their heroic entrance. Jinx thought it was grand--if a little hokey. Raven didn't really rush in, more like... floated quickly. The moment the door burst open, the sensors tripped.

'Gizmo' cried out, "It's the fuckin' Titans! Scatter!"

Jinx sent the small hex shrieking for Raven. It was timed so perfectly that it slammed into her hood and blew it back, revealing the mystic Titan's scowling visage. Following this, the sorceress high-tailed it to the back of the shop, hopped the counter, and left via the fire exit. The demi-Demon whisked through the air after her.

Cyborg charged into Karasu's just behind Robin, his cybernetic eye automatically scanning for the threats. What he found were two holograms and a biologic--Jinx. He was about to warn Raven of that fact, but she was already flitting out after the other girl. Damn!

The other Titans would figure it out soon enough, but he didn't know what kind of trap had been set for Raven. He charged after the girl, but was cautious on the way out the fire exit. He didn't want to give himself away if the HIVE Five really did have a trap set. When his sensors indicated no one in the alley, he did a quick thermal scan. Residual heat was on the ladder to his left. Jinx must have gone up the fire escape; Raven probably flew to...

The roof was more or less bare, save the gravel and the doorway to the stairwell. Jinx hid behind the large stairwell block where she stashed her backpack just before Raven materialized from a black portal on the ground. It bulged out, creating a pitch bird of prey with four, red eyes composed entirely of mystical energy, which then melted away to reveal the violet-haired girl. The Titan came to hover roughly in the center of the roof.

"Give it up, Jinx."

"Uh, could we talk this out?" Jinx said, peeking around the corner.

She whipped her head back as a black tentacle of magic lashed through the area her head had occupied.

"Hey! You're s'pposed to negotiate, first! What if I wanted to surrender?"

Raven's brow rose. She glared at the block, waiting for Jinx to tumble from it with a hex in her direction. The demi-Demon had always hated in-fight banter. It took away from her concentration. Somehow, however, Jinx always managed to connive her way into a conversation.

'Annoying, frivolous girl...' she mentally muttered.

The pink head of hair stuck out again, pink horns and eyes contrasting against the grey cement of the roof, "Ya gonna blast me if I step out?"

"Most likely," Raven responded.

"Not much incentive for me to step out," Jinx muttered.

This wasn't how the hex-caster had planned it. Then again, Raven had always been an anomaly among the other teen heroes. Maybe that was why the Titan was fascinating. Jinx couldn't really say. Never the less, she'd gone this far... might as well go for the win.

"'Most likely?' So... there's a chance you won't?" The pink-haired girl stepped out slowly, "What if I really wanted to deal?"

Raven growled, "I don't make deals with thieves."

"Heh... uh... about that... I didn't really steal anyth-"

The rest of her sentence was yanked away as she found herself encompassed in black energy and hauled mere feet from Raven. The mystic Titan glared at her icily and scrutinized her.

"Give back what you stole."

"...Um, I can't. I really didn't take anything," Jinx said, her dilated, vertical pupils dominating the small, pink rings surrounding them.

The violet-haired teen passively scanned the surface thoughts and emotions of the girl. There was no lie in Jinx's words--and an underlying desire to keep things as calm and non-violent as possible. The demi-Demon frowned in consternation. She had the other girl, now... she should just haul her down to street level, where there was likely a Metahuman Task Force containment van waiting.

"Why deal with you when I could just take you in..."

Jinx grinned, her pupils slowly contracting to slits, "'cause then you'll never know what I was offering."

Raven paused. ... Damn her curiosity! She slowly let the other girl's feet touch the ground. Free of the black magic, she took in the dress Jinx wore and the ribbons in her hair. The villainess was actually very striking, but that was neither here or there. The dress wasn't exactly made for fighting or running in--for all the hex-caster moved like the wind in it...

Jinx glanced around. The other Titans might be joining them any moment.

"Um, can-... Can we talk about this somewhere else? Y'know... away-"

Raven interjected, "-from the scene of the crime?"

"Er... yeah," the sorceress finished lamely.

With a roll of her eyes, the Titan seized Jinx in her magic again, and flew them two rooftops over. The villainess squeaked when picked up. Raven was willing to go no further than this short distance from Karasu's to entertain this madness. Already she was beginning to doubt the wisdom of her choice.

From the fire escape, Cyborg quietly listened. Something was totally fishy about this. He moved up to the rooftop, moving over to the stairwell block. The mostly-metallic man noticed the small, purple-and-black backpack sitting beside it, but decided to leave it alone. Instead, he turned his cybernetic 'ear' toward the two girls and activated his waveform enhancer via his wrist computer.

Step 3: Make Sure It Takes the Bait

Raven set them down and crossed her arms as Jinx flailed to gain her balance after her moment of weightlessness. The pink-haired sorceress seemed to be back to her regular self away from the scene: silly and zany. This was exactly why the Titan was on guard; something just wasn't right about the situation. When the villainess continued to fiddle with her sash and re-straighten her dress, Raven lost her patience.

"What was your deal?" she more flatly demanded than asked.

"Well... um, I'd go with you peacefully an' give up-"

The demi-Demon glared, "I could have done that before. I can still do that..."

"-but in return," the hex-caster continued, "I... uh..."

The mystic Titan waited, but the crazy girl had gone quiet. There was a slight blush to her features, but Raven wasn't in the mood to humor Jinx. Robin would be wondering where she was or would want an update or... whatever it was an obsessively anal leader did when she wasn't there.

"Spit it out."


It came rushing out far less delicately than she had intended. Jinx was supposed to be in control of this conversation! Instead, the violet-haired heroine was pushing her down the path of her plan faster than she'd intended to go. The HIVE Five member felt like facepalming herself for just blurting it like that. It was out of her mouth now, though, and she couldn't do anything about it.

Back on Karasu's rooftop, Cyborg blinked stupidly, 'Wait a sec... what?'

He rechecked the audio and sure enough, he had heard what he thought he did.

"...What?" Raven asked with genuine bafflement.

Acting with more bravery than she felt, she barreled onward. Maybe with the other girl put off-guard like that, she could steer this back in the direction she wanted.

"I want to kiss you," Jinx reaffirmed, "Then I'll give up and go back with you. No fuss, no muss."

Then again, maybe not. The Titan just stood there staring at her, those piercing, violet eyes drilling into her like twin augers. It began eating away at her composure and the sorceress decided that it might be good to cut her losses. Jinx shifted her weight restlessly. She couldn't do this!

Raven let the emotions washing off the other girl pervade her. Still no deception. A truckload of jittery nerves, but no lies. Right now, she could probably refuse, have it out with the girl, and meet Robin and the MTF once she subjugated the HIVE Five member. It was sure to drag out frustratingly and work up her nerves by the end...

On the other hand, she could go ahead and let Jinx kiss her--and then take her in as she intended. Just be done with it and get the girl into custody. It would be better than chasing the pink-haired sorceress all over creation and fighting. The more the demi-Demon thought about it, the less crazy the idea sounded. She had never taken the time to examine her... proclivities, but kissing the other girl didn't seem like a problem.

"...You're serious."

Jinx panicked, 'Shit, I definitely can't do this. It's Raven! What the Hell was I thinking? What do I do? She probably thinks I'm some kinda freak. Well, more of a freak... Damn, damn, double damn, triple damn, Hell...'

"Er! ...J-just... Never mind. I-"


Cyborg rewound the audio yet again, 'What a sec... what?'

Step 4: Spring the Trap

"Huh?" she asked intelligently.

"I said you can kiss me."

'No way, no way, no way! It worked! I think. Calm down, Jinx, don't get your hopes up. Just take it easy. This is your chance!'

"... ...O-okay," the villainess said, moving closer to the violet-haired heroine.

Her palms were suddenly sweaty her hands shook. Jinx felt like her heart was going to pound out of her chest! Could Raven hear it? She didn't think she would ever be this nervous over kissing anyone. This wasn't just anyone, though; it was Raven! She tried to take a deep breath to steady her nerves... without looking like she was taking a deep breath to steady her nerves.

Her voice came out smaller, shier than she thought she could sound, "Uh... Close, um... close your eyes."

The Titan sighed, but closed her eyes. She could humor the girl. While still mentally monitoring her surroundings, she was intensely aware of the butterflies in Jinx's stomach. The beat of their wings rushed over her in a nigh-constant zephyr. Was a kiss really that important to the girl?

That was when she felt it. The pink-haired hex-caster leaned in and gave her a quick peck on the lips. A tiny, electrical zing flitted from her lips straight to her brain, and then dropped down her spine in a tingle. Raven liked that zing... and, in her opinion, it was over far too quickly. The demi-Demon's eyes snapped open to find Jinx leaning back. Then the sorceress quickly backed up a step, as though the mystic Titan would detonate.

That was rather... anti-climatic.

"...Excuse me. What the Hell was that?"

Jinx's mouth opened and closed wordlessly.

"This is my first kiss. I thought those were supposed to be special... or something. If you're going to take my first kiss, you might as well put some effort into it."

"Um," the girl squeaked.

"That's not how they do it in the movies," Raven said, closing the distance between herself and the stunned, pink-haired villainess, "It's like this..."

She put her hand on the back of Jinx's neck, tilting her head slightly and moving in. Their lips met and she persisted, slowly working her mouth against the other. That zing was back and was there to stay, this time. The heroine didn't rush it, feeling that she'd know when the time was right. Raven's other hand went to rest against the small of Jinx's back.

This was how they always kissed in the old, black-and-white classics she watched. Honestly, they didn't do it a lick of justice! The Theory of Relativity was in full motion and after those first few moments, she found hidden hours within the following seconds. Finally, after an undetermined amount of time, she pulled away.

Jinx's mouth remained open, her eyes shut, "... ... Wow..."

Raven agreed! Not that she was any expert on it, obviously, but that was definitely 'wow' material. Robin be damned--he could wait a few minutes! This demanded her full attention. It wasn't often that the demi-Demon gave in to her emotions on any scale, so she was prone to savoring them when the moment came along.

"Th-that was just an example," the mystic Titan said, "You're supposed to kiss me, not the other way around. S-... so now you try it..."

'Raven... kissed... I was just...' her thoughts spun hazily before the words penetrated, 'Kiss her! She wants me to kiss her back!'

From her sides, Jinx finally gathered enough wits to raise her arms and wrap them around the other girl, under the cloak. The leotard was skin-tight and she could feel the smooth but well-toned back. The sorceress closed her eyes again and returned the favor.

This time, when their mouths parted slightly, she chanced a cautious probe into Raven's mouth. The moment the muscles made contact, the demi-Demon made a low sound somewhere between a purr and a hum. Around them, the gravel on the roof slowly began to float upward, hovering at about shoulder height as the heroine's emotions infused them with her dark power.

By some understood, mutual consent, they parted. The pink-haired girl rested forehead-to-forehead with the violet-haired girl, feeling the warmth of the smooth, ajna chakra gem residing there. Jinx smiled stupidly for several seconds, utterly thrilled and contentedly tranquil at once.

"... ... Wow..." said Raven quietly.

About them, the tiny pebbles fell like rain back to the rooftop.

The villainess remained where she was, unwilling to disengage from the Titan just yet. She was kind of getting into this whole kissing-Raven thing. Really getting into it. She wondered just how far she could push her luck...

"I... I still think I could do better, y'know... ... Best out of three?"

Raven gave her a small smile back and they pulled in once more.

Atop Karasu's, Cyborg continued staring. He might have lost his jaw somewhere on the ground, but he wouldn't have noticed. Various sensors were probably close to short-circuiting, and yet he couldn't seem to care.

In no time flat, Jinx found herself carried away. She'd forgotten that the other Titans were on the job nearby and, for the most part, that the rest of the world even existed. So swept up in the tidal wave moment between herself and the heroine, the pink-haired villainess found herself seeking a more intense connection with the violet-haired Titan. Several minutes passed before she did anything more than snog the Hell out of the demi-Demon.

Eventually, the hex-caster moved to kiss along Raven's jaw, up to her ear and nuzzling it. Then it was a slow, zinging descent down the neck. It earned Jinx another purr from the girl. When she came to the neckline of the leotard, Raven moaned. It merely fanned the flames. Why hadn't she tried this before? It certainly trumped fighting!

The moment she moaned, she knew things were going too far. She opened her eyes and saw the various pebbles floating about the air, practically humming with dark energy and bouncing off one another as the freely hovered about. She tried to gather her wits before the pink-haired girl could find another way to distract her.

"Ji-... We should... we should really, uh, head back now, Jinx... um," the Titan said shakily, but she put her hands on the HIVE Five member's shoulders.

"...Hnn," the girl complained, but pulled away--albeit reluctantly.

Cyborg wasn't sure how he felt about what he'd just witnessed, but he felt it best to let the two sort things out between themselves. Of course, this wasn't because he was afraid of Raven's wrath for watching her make out with anyone--let alone Jinx. Nope, not scared one bit.

The mostly-metallic man went back down the fire escape and out onto the sidewalk, where Robin was talking with the MTF. Once the Boy Wonder caught sight of him, he was immediately beckoned over.

"Those were holograms, but I guess you already knew that--Jinx was the only one there. The witnesses say that Gizmo and Mammoth left her there. She was waiting for us. It has to be a trap!

"Where's Raven? Did you see where she went after she followed Jinx? I want to regroup before we start looking for her."

The cybernetic teen put his hand behind his head and rubbed his neck, "Raven? No, I haven't seen Raven. Raven's probably after Jinx and doing... Raven-y things... We know she can handle herself; maybe we should call her up before assuming the worst! After all, it's Raven! Heh... heh heh..."

The Titans leader narrowed his eyes at Cyborg, but flipped open his communicator...

#Raven, status,#

"I suppose it was inevitable," Raven mumbled, slowly extricating herself from Jinx and reaching for her communicator, "This is Raven. Situation normal..."

Jinx muttered, "SNAFU."

Raven glared at her half-heartedly; the acronym wasn't appropriate... yet. Nevertheless, she continued.

"I've... negotiated with Jinx," she ignored the pink-haired girl's sudden snicker, "She's surrendering and cooperating."

#Be careful, Raven. Gizmo and Mammoth were only holograms. It could be a trap--we don't know where the real Gizmo and Mammoth are; they could be hiding nearby.#

"I've already felt out her intentions and emotions--she's telling the truth. We're heading back now."

"You can do that?" squeaked the hex-caster, her pale face going bright red.

The demi-Demon shrugged and answered blandly, "When I need to."

Raven moved behind Jinx and put her hands around the other girl's waist. After telling Jinx to hold on and she was sure the villainess had a secure grip, she levitated them back to Karasu's. There, the pink-haired hex-caster snagged her backpack and the two proceeded down the stairwell.

The mystic Titan tried to make it appear as though she was keeping the HIVE Five member in custody, but it was negated by Jinx's silly grin and the way their fingers interlocked in a 'holding hands' fashion rather than an 'I've apprehended the criminal' method. She pulled the other girl around the display cases and out of the jewelry shop, where the other Titans and the MTF waited.

Sam finished answering questions some five minutes ago. Most of it involved telling the various authorities the same thing repeatedly. Yes, the HIVE Five showed up. No, they didn't take anything. Yes, Jinx hit the alarm herself. Yes, the other two left--no, she didn't know where they went.

Finally, after almost ten minutes of watching this exact same procedure occur with everyone else, someone came in the back. It was Jinx and Raven... and, if the stupid smile and the way the pink-haired girl held the violet-haired girl's hand were any indication, things were looking up.

Sam couldn't help but grin. She had no idea what game the HIVE Five member was playing, but she was apparently winning. The sales rep moved to the doorway to watch as the hex-caster blithely handed herself over to the MTF guards and allowed herself to be handcuffed. That was when she saw a flicker of bright fuchsia in Jinx's eyes.

The pink-haired girl leapt, her hands using one of the MTF guard's helmets as a springboard, and vaulting backward. Gasps came from all around and tension suddenly skyrocketed. The villainess landed neatly before Raven, who was only a few yards from Karasu's entrance.

Jinx brought her cuffed hands down behind the mystic Titan and pulled her in for a kiss. Sam's--as well as just about everyone else's--jaw dropped. The streetlight above them shattered and the pole curled like a rolled-up blowout. Sam gave a squeak of surprise.

The hex-caster pulled away and skipped to the MTF containment van. Finally, the demi-Demon regained her wits and crossed her arms. The tried to glare petulantly, but the lobster-red glow to her face, ears, and neck made it less than intimidating.

"Y-you stole that one!"

The pink-haired villainess slowly turned around with a grin. Then she held up her cuffed hands, shrugged and said, "...Thief."

After Jinx disappeared into the van, all eyes turned back to Raven. Sam raised her brows. Now that was an exit... The violet-haired girl quickly pulled up her hood and sank into a black portal that opened beneath her. The other Titans, as well as the MTF, stood flabbergasted for several, long seconds before Robin concluded his business with the MTF and ordered the Titans out.

In her room in the Tower, Raven laid on her bed with her face pressing into the pillow, "Oh, Azar..."

After the initial embarrassment passed, the demi-Demon realized that Robin would probably want an explanation. The girl rolled onto her back and sighed... then her lips quirked up.

"Definitely SNAFU."

Step 5: Retrieve Your Prize

Jinx stood quietly at the precinct. Until MTF could get all the paperwork surrounding her conditional cooperation, which necessitated a court hearing, she would be staying in one of their temporary holding cells for a few days. Therefore, here she was at processing. Her file, though extensive, was lacking. The hex-caster preferred it that way. Jinx conceded, however, that if she wanted to do this... then she was going to have to give them something to go on. A token of good faith.

"Your prints don't match anyone on our list. Can I have your name please," said Officer Williams.

The pink-haired girl sighed and opened her mouth. That's when she noticed there were multiple eyes and ears upon her, hanging on every word. She blushed, and leaned forward. She whispered just enough for him to hear, even going so far as to cup her hands to hide her lips.

"...Kamala Malti..." and then she sat back and responded louder, "but I would prefer it if you would call me Jinx."

He nodded at his screen... and then blinked. He looked back to her, "Can you spell that?"

Muttering under her breath, she stood up and leaned over to type on the keyboard. She typed quite well for having both hands cuffed. He seemed about to protest, but two facts stopped him. The first was that she was a super-villainess who was probably capable of escaping at any point she wanted. Second, she was also a nervous teenage girl. Honestly, one or the other was bad enough... both was just asking for trouble.

Afterward, they went through the process of confiscation. They had to take off the cuffs so she could remove her backpack, but otherwise things ran smoothly. Kamala gave up her pink lighter, her incense, and collapsible table. The perfume, toiletries, and clothes also went quietly. She sat the book in her lap and handed him the backpack. Resting her hands over the book, the hex-caster sat back and stared at him.

The book itself was purple with cursive pink letters that read, 'Jinx' on the front cover. The front cover also had a metal lid that covered pages; this metal lit touched the metal rim on the back cover, where a small, single-dial combination lock.

"We'll have to take the book, too."

"Uh-uh. I said I'd cooperate, but there's no way I'm giving up my diary. You'd just want to read it--and that's not something an officer of the law should be doing. Unless... you're one of those bad cops that want to know all my inner-most, girly secrets, wants, and desires... so then you can use them to manipulate my fragile self while I'm at a disadvantage and do all sorts of wicked, dirty things to my sweet, innocent flesh..."

Williams sputtered, "Th-that's not-"

"Besides," she continued in full-swing monologue, "even the inmates in The Shawshank Redemption were allowed to have books. Remember? To deprive us of necessary mental stimulation in a cold, isolated cell would drive people mad."

"That movie's about a man that escapes prison," Williams finally managed, flustered and caught up in arguing against the zany girl's wild theories.

"No it's not," she rebuffed, "It's about a flawed justice system, a corrupt slam, and a trapped, innocent man that overcomes the adversity of his internal and external demons."

"You can't s-"

It was at this point that the cop realized she could and would go on about anything and everything, finding some form of controversy in it regardless of what topic it was or what his response was. He didn't know if it was on purpose or not, but the officer could hazard a guess. With a roll of his eyes, Williams printed out a sheet of paper and gave her a pen sign it.

"Look, fine... keep the book. Part of the conditions of your cooperation is that you don't try anything funny... You're on the honor system until your trial. Don't make us regret it."

This done, he escorted her over to the cells, "Andrews, admitting one."

There was a buzz as a man in the booth, Andrews, unlocked the hallway, "Admitting one..."

Another buzz opened her cell and Jinx moved inside without a fuss.

In the end, the day passed calmly. The pink-haired villainess had requested a pen to scribble in her diary for some 20 minutes, but there was nothing to cause more complications until later that night. Jinx came to the bars, pressing her face against and one of her hair-horns sticking out.

"Excuse me... Mr. Jail-cop guy-person? Can I talk to ya for a sec?"

Officer Andrews rolled his eyes but humored the girl. In the interests of giving the Metahuman her right to a public and speedy trial--with an emphasis on speedy--they hoped to have her case dealt with as a matter of priority. Two days, they told the precinct. He could put up with her for two days.

He stopped in front of the cell, "What is it?"

"I was wondering if I could get my table and incense--it would be very much to your advantage if I could meditate before going to bed."

"You kept the book, must you insist?" he said, not wanting to generate more paperwork.

"You mean I no longer have the unalienable right as a citizen of the United States to freely practice my religion, free of persecution, just because I'm in custody? What about the Bill of Rights, what about the Constit-"

Before she could get started, Andrews headed her off with a wave of his hand. He'd listened to the whole spiel with Williams. He was not in the mood for a repeat. Her peculiar statement after her request had caught his attention, however.

"Enough. How's it to our advantage?"

"Well, y'see..." she held up a hand, allowing it to suffuse with coral hex-magic, "Look at it like... a cotton-ball soaked with ether. I'm just a big, pink, cotton candy ball--'cause pink cotton candy's the best, after all. And my aura is constantly generating the stuff of Murphy's Law. So... so it's just gonna seep out into everything. That's just what it does.

"Whenever I get an apartment, I usually set up some strong wards. I know how to do it properly--the Metahuman block at JC Correctional doesn't. So that's why, despite all their fancy technology, restraints, and 'wards,'" and she paused to make two, glowing-pink commas in the air with mini-hexes at her fingers, "their cuffs rust, their electronics malfunction, and I always escape...

"I can't sense any wards on this place. I'm just trying to prevent your computer system from corrupting, your bars and hinges from rusting, the wall foundations from weakening 'cause... y'know... bad luck--hence my name!"

She paused to giggle, "I just said 'hence'! I'm bein' all edu-ma-cationed. Anyway...! If I can meditate, I can keep my little aura nice and contained."

He didn't have to think about it long. After signing the objects out from confiscations, he brought them back. She went about setting the table up in the center of the room and carefully setting up the incense. Technically, it wasn't proper observance of ceremony, but it was the best Jinx ever managed to pull off.

The incense's scent of 'tropical rain' slowly pervaded the room and she let out a slow breath. Now it was time to get down to business.

"Don't worry if anything funky starts happening..."

That didn't reassure Andrews in the least. He stayed to watch, just in case. She muttered quietly to herself for nearly half an hour while sitting in a lotus position with her palms together and her eyes closed. During this time, the room began to glow a soft fuchsia. Small tendrils of the energy stretched toward the hex-caster, to be absorbed into her being.

The lights flickered slightly several times, but Jinx continued her quiet chanting regardless. The pink-haired girl slowly took in more of the energy from the surrounding, glowing objects until they lost their glow; her aura once more pulled tightly against her body. As the last of the smoky aura drifted through the air and flowed into her, the air seemed to gain a tangible, static charge. Tiny flicks of coral, electric energy zapped about her body.

Finally, her chants ceased. The villainess pulled her hands apart, the currents of magical entropy arced between her fingers. Suddenly she clapped. There was a small, pink flash and particles of the same color puffed out from the gesture, slowly disappearing into the ether. Having shed the excess energy harmlessly into the atmosphere, she stood up.

Now feeling much more centered and calm, she was ready for bed. Sleep would do her good, at this point. Her nerves had been all over the place today, and some downtime was necessary or she'd just stress herself out. Jinx moved over to the toilet, dumped the incense ashes, and disassembled the table.

"What were you saying?" asked Andrews.

For all he knew, the girl had cast some kind of spell. It didn't do good to deal with the super-types and deny the existence of things like magic and all that outlandish stuff. Because ignorance only worked until some conjured Demon was gnawing on your carcass...

"It's a mantra; devotion to Vishnu. Didn't have the cash to shell out for all the proper stuff, so I just got an incense table..."

"What about all that stuff you stole, you had to turn a profit-"

Jinx frowned, "I'd rather not talk about it."

He nodded understandingly, even if he didn't completely understand and she couldn't see him do it. He started slightly when the girl turned around to hand the table to him through the bars. Her gaze smoldered upon him with magical intensity.

"Uh... your eyes are glowing."

She nodded slowly, moving toward the bed.

"That'll go-" she paused to yawn widely, "-away in a few hours. 'm gonna turn in."

Moments later, she was lying on the mattress and closing her eyes. Andrews lingered a moment, then turned away with a mental shrug. The night dragged on and soon the HIVE Five member found herself tossing and turning. Finally realizing it was a futile attempt, she opened her eyes. She heaved out an exasperated, tired sigh.

Getting out of bed, she pulled off the sparse coverings provided and situated them in the corner of the cell. Stuffing the pillow into the corner and wrapped herself in the thin blanket. There Jinx sat, knees pulled to her chest and head resting upon her knees. Under five minutes later, she was asleep.

The next day and a half passed similarly.


Hello and welcome to Jinx's 12-Step plan for catching a Raven! I hope you enjoyed the first five steps; there are seven more to go! Unlike my Riddick fiction, "Chronicle of Darkness," this will be a short story maxing at five chapters.

I planned it to be short specifically for this purpose. While writing Chronicle of Darkness, I realized there was only so much I could write about Riddick without getting sick of it. Therefore, in my oh-so-infinite wisdom--can you feel the sarcasm oozing off that?--I decided to start a small project. One I knew (1) would end in a pre-determined number of chapters and (2) would be small enough to enjoy in one sitting--depending on how fast you read, of course.

Unfortunately, I once again underestimated myself. While the story is planned out, my mind ran away with it. Therefore, there IS a possible sequel to this! If the reviews are good (yes, that's a not-so-subtle hint that you should, in fact, leave a review), then I shall start up the sequel... which might just be a full-blown story in its own right, but don't quote me on that.

So! The formula is simple: Review this and--if the response is positive--I'll put up the second chapter. If reviews are good for that, I'll put up the next chapter. Repeat ad nauseam. If you enjoy the story and would like more... be sure to let me know you want that sequel!

Oh, and I'm sure you noticed, but I made up my own name for Jinx. Kamala Malti is my own imaginative name for her and I use it in most of my Teen Titans writings--none of which are up yet save this one. I think it works nicely.

-Lynx Klaw